Beef Short Ribs Curry

Best Beef Short Ribs Curry

I hate fatty meat. Unless it’s a luscious, unctuous, braised-forever, hunk of short rib.

Then my aversion to fat just melts away.

Saw a beautiful slab of boneless short rib at Foodie Market Place and images of glossy, deep, dark, fork-tender beef came to mind. I was going to prepare it braised in wine and western-style but decided to try my hand at a curry instead. Seeing as how it was for a National Day dinner party with the family, thought I’d stick to ethnic traditions instead.

Now, if you have ever tried searching for a boneless beef short rib curry recipe online, you’ll notice 2 things.

  1. A Kerala-based beef curry, the Nadan beef curry, keeps cropping up. (Don’t forget, Hindus don’t eat beef, so it’s not the most common Indian curry around). And the pictures for the Nadan beef curry just didn’t look like what I would want a beef curry to look like.
  2. Those recipes that do crop up, for some reason, they just didn’t make sense to me. The methods, the ingredients – they just didn’t add up for me.

So, with much nervousness, at not having a tried and tested recipe to work with, I jumped right in and created my own version.

Which turned out really well! Even my mom said so. And that’s saying something.

The recipe is good for 6 hungry diners. 

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 1.5 to 2 Hours

Ingredients for Beef Short Ribs Curry:

Ingredients for Beef Short Ribs Curry

  • 1kg boneless beef short ribs (or any stewing cut like chuck)
  • 3 Tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 5 Cloves
  • 5 Cardomom pods
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3-4 medium sized red onions – sliced
  • 4 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 2 medium sized ripe tomatoes (I made up one tomato with some cherry tomatoes, as the medium-sized tomato i had wasn’t ripe enough)
  • 2 green chillies – roughly chopped into 3 pieces each
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 7 Tbsp Meat Masala Powder (I use Baba’s – easily found at grocery stores)
  • 1 Tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (optional or use regular chilli powder for a spicier hit)
  • 2 cups water (or enough to cover the meat during cooking)
  • Salt
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala

Marinade for Beef:

  • 2 Tsps Turmeric powder
  • 2 Tsps Chilli Powder
  • 2 Tsps Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 5 Cloves
  • 5 Cardomom pods
  • 5 whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Star Anise

Beef Short Rib Curry and others

Method for Beef Short Ribs Curry:

  1. Trim excess fat off the beef. Cut into cubes. Rinse cubes until water runs clear. You may choose to rub the pieces with some vinegar to get rid of excess beefy smell. I didn’t have vinegar so I washed the beef with some turmeric powder.
  2. Marinate the beef with marinade ingredients, set aside 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the pot for cooking the beef, when hot, add beef cubes in batches to start browning the meat. When all batches are browned, add all the beef back into the pot and continue cooking, lid covered.
  4. You will see the liquids from the beef coming out, just continue to let the beef cook in its own juices for about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat oil in the main cooking vessel, over medium flame.
  6. Add the whole spices (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel) to oil. Keep stirring till spices are nicely fragrant.
  7. Add in chopped onions, with ½ teaspoon of salt. Keep stirring onions till softened, careful not to burn them.
  8. Add curry leaves and green chillies and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Add ginger-garlic paste, and cook till raw smell of the paste goes off. Take your time with this, keep the flame not too high, and keep stirring.
  10. Add the meat masala powder (and chilli powder, if using), and keep stirring for about 5 minutes to prevent spices from burning.
  11. Add tomatoes and keep mixing well, until you start to see oil separating from the masala.
  12. Add the partially-cooked beef pieces (without the liquid it cooked in, only use the beef pieces) and mix well.
  13. Add bay leaf, water, bring it to a boil, then set on the lowest flame for a gentle simmer.
  14. Cover and cook for 1.5-2 hours. Check occasionally to ensure enough water and that the beef is not getting stuck onto the base of the pot, and keep checking for salt a couple of times during cooking process.
  15. When beef has been cooked completely, and curry has been reduced to a thick masala, add the teaspoon of garam masala and let sit for about an hour before serving.
  16. Top with fresh coriander and enjoy with basmati rice. Check out my Coconut Lime Rice recipe that’s a perfect match for this robust meaty curry!

Beef Short Rib Curry on a plate

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